Just Enough

Ten years ago, before transferring to Moody and moving to Chicago ever even entered my mind, I was a little sophomore at Baylor University. One fine central Texas day I went down with a friend to a place cleverly called Waco Hall to listen to an increasingly well-known “upcoming” musician. All I knew about the musician I had gleaned from the signs scattered on walls around campus: he had really good hair.

The musician was Shaun Groves. And if I remember correctly, he had just released his first big record Invitation to Eavesdrop.  I knew, even then, after just a few minutes listening to Shaun sing, that he had a special voice. Something about him was unique. I sensed that he was a person who both thought and felt deeply about faith and the world. What I most certainly did not sense is that in less than a decade I would be bouncing around East India with a tiny group he was leading.

But in the third world together we were destined to be.

April 2009 to be exact.

On one of those blistering 125-degree days in Kolkata, Shaun and I got to talking. We were on the bus doing what theology nerds do best . . . taking ourselves far too seriously and talking about some Bible verses. We were throwing around phrases like “the new perspective on Paul” “the kingdom” “inaugurated eschatology” and whatnot. We discussed how necessary it is for us to have a holistic understanding of Scripture’s voice about wealth and poverty. We were ranting and complaining how it simply won’t do to quote one or two verses from the gospels; we need to understand everything we can about poverty and wealth in the entire canon. Only then could we really understand the Church’s mission concerning wealth and poverty. But then we got to talking about a couple of verses in the book of Proverbs. Specifically these:

Proverbs 30.7-9

Two things I ask of you;

deny them not to me before I die:

Remove far from me falsehood and lying;

give me neither poverty nor riches;

feed me with the food that is needful for me,

lest I be full and deny you

and say, “Who is the LORD?”

or lest I be poor and steal

and profane the name of my God.

Interesting verses, right? We both suspected that these verses are crucial to the Church’s conversation concerning wealth and poverty. Shaun swears that, among other things, our conversation about these verses has something to do with the song “Enough” on his new record Third World Symphony. I imagine he is grossly exaggerating but I really don’t care since it happens to be my favorite song on the album.

Enough by shaungroves

These were fun times, good conversations.

But nothing could have prepared me for the moment, just a few hours later, when the ideas in this conversation would become a human being. Kiran is the real reason Shaun wrote “Enough.”

Nothing could have prepared me for Kiran, a Compassion student who lives in one of the slums of Kolkata.

On April 30, 2009 seven members of our team crammed tightly into the home of twelve year old Kiran Mallik. The home she shares with her four other family members. Three of our team members simply couldn’t fit inside. The tiny little shack was about the size of a twin bed, approximately the size of my spare powder bath.

Here is a picture of Kiran standing outside her house.

We couldn’t stand up inside the little house so with knees and thighs touching, we kneeled around on the floor. We sat captivated by Kiran as she revealed to us who she was through a translator. She told us how much she loves Jesus, how she loves to study and hopes to become a teacher someday.


And then she paused.

And she asked us, with a soft and sincere smile on her face:

 “How do you like my house?”

Looking helplessly at one another, we collectively cheered:

“It’s beautiful!”

“Yes, it’s beautiful!”

She beamed in agreement and with satisfaction.

But the thing is, I really couldn’t see beauty.

What I saw on that hot April day was a flimsy little box of a house roofed with plastic paper, rocks, and sticks.

Later as we walked around the slum, Kiran would start to cry.

Tears of joy, she said. Tears because she was just so happy she had God.

Then she would literally burst forth into songs of praise. This is the stuff of the Psalms or maybe even the book of Acts. I saw these things in an Indian slum.

And all I could think about was stuff Kiran didn’t possess.

The dark, scary place we were walking around.

All Kiran could think about was that God was with her.

Where I saw tremendous lack, Kiran saw an extravagance worth displaying.

The radiant joy Kiran effused challenged the “lack” I saw.

Her intoxicating presence told me she lacked no good thing.

This was one of those remarkable moments when fixed values start to move. A paradigm shift, if you will. I had to start deconstructing and reconstructing meaning; I had to start trying to make sense of things again. Clearly I had been missing something major about basic life questions. I started posing new questions: What does it really mean to be blessed? What does it mean to have enough? Can I really trust myself to answer this former question?

Being in Kiran’s presence was something of a dream. Surreal. I felt like I was bound in chains in a dark room gazing out a window at a little girl skipping in a field of sunflowers at the brightest point of the day.

It wasn’t that Kiran was proud of what little she had. That would have been admirable, indeed. But that wasn’t it. It was the very idea that Kiran had absolutely no idea she had little. No one could have convinced Kiran she was “suffering,” not without performing some kind of lobotomy anyway. She was rich and full, living off of a couple of Compassion meals. She knocked me off my white horse. I wasn’t the one doing the liberating anymore. I never was. Maybe I had been bound all along.

The remarkable thing about the Proverbs text I mentioned before (30.7-9) is not that it mentions living in the middle of two extremes: poverty and wealth. The astonishing thing is that it links spiritual infidelity to these two extremes. In other words, living off of just enough, that which is necessary, is spiritually advantageous. At least according to the wisdom writer.

Kiran’s effortless joy, her tremendous wealth in living off the Lord alone, not only reverberates the sounds of the ancient sage; it takes the shape of a cross. Her abundant life is nothing short of cruciform. Undeniable power in perceived human weakness. And not even the thickest darkness can obstruct this kind of light. It is the overwhelming penetrating light of the cross. I was blinded by it because I couldn’t stop staring at Kiran.

My vision will never be the same.

If I close my eyes and focus long enough, I can still hear the sound of Kiran’s voice. She is singing, “Lord, I lift Your Name on High. Lord, I love to sing Your Praises.” The cadences of her voice are still in my heart.



162 Responses to “Just Enough”

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  1. 51
    Judy from Clarks Hill says:

    This post is so timely for the lesson we are studying in our circle at church: Honored are the Poor (the lesson translation of Matthew 5:3). You stated it so beautifully and the photos gave the perfect visual for seeing “pure joy in God.”Thank you for sharing.

    Oddly enough I just downloaded Shaun’s new album, a result of hearing him presented on another site. The songs are griping, the words dynamic. Blessings abound.

  2. 52
    Shawna says:

    Lovely, powerful and so needed today. Thank you for introducing me to this beautiful music and message. It filled a need. Thank you.

  3. 53
    Valerie says:

    Precious Melissa! What a beautiful girl Kiran is. Thanks for sharing.

  4. 54
    Genevieve says:

    Love the story of Kiran. She is so beautiful, radiating the light of Jesus all over her. What a blessing to hear (and see by Kiran’s example) that He is sufficient for all of our needs.

    Thank you,

  5. 55
    candifer says:

    that was 2009, and the memory has had an obvious impact on your heart. but how does the knowledge impact your day-to-day life? i’ve had similar experiences living abroad, and continue to wrestle with the disparateness between the wealth and poverty abroad and even in our own country & culture, and what my response should be. thank you for this beautifully written reminder–it resonated very deeply with me.

  6. 56
    Lindsey says:

    God be praised! This post holds great meaning for me as it is the third time this same message has been given to me in the last week. I am listening Lord! Show me how to respond.

    God bless you Melissa, it’s lovely to hear from you again on the blog. xo

  7. 57
    Fenton Clendenin says:

    Hey Melissa! What a great post! The Lord has been “speaking” to my heart about just this. He is enough!

  8. 58
    becky says:

    humm, deep post Melissa.
    You’ve told us about this young lady who has nothing… much, but I have noticed something. She is not complaining, nor does she seem to be depressed. How many of us are complaining and depressed over what we do not have? We all have head the expression, you don’t miss what you never had. Now that I’m older and hopefully wiser,I realize we may not miss what we never had, but we sure do want what we don’t have weather we ever had it or not, and many times don’t need, forgetting all about what we do have. I am currently struggling with my widowed mother about her seeing what she does have, and to stop wanting what her friends have…. I’m wasting my breath, she’s not getting it. Causes me to be a little fearful….what will I be like if I’m ever in her shoes.
    I guess I’m trying to say all of us should stop and think about what we ‘do’ have, and stop complaining and being depressed about what we don’t have.

  9. 59
    Leanne says:

    I’ve missed seeing your name in the title…it was good to read your words again today. I love learning about others such as Kiran. It convicts my heart…

  10. 60
    Kay Martin says:

    What a special post! Gives me much to ponder!

  11. 61
    Andrea Porter says:

    Thanks for sharing. Indeed, Jesus is enough. Yes, He is enough. (tears of joy)

  12. 62
    Liz says:

    Have you ever seen a more beautiful girl?

    Only Jesus 🙂

  13. 63
    Sylvia V. says:

    Thank you for reminding me of your visit to India in 2009. I shall never forget your writing about that week on thsi blog and how it changed you. God has given you an increible ability to communicate and what you have submitted today on the blog is so appropriate for so many who will read this blog. Yes, I am one of those who needed to be reminded of what is really important in life.

    The lives many people have known for years living in the USA is changing dramatically in ways we might not desire. Thank you for reminding me of how much Jesus loves me no matter what; for your relationship with Kiran and the joy she so jubilantly expressed in God’s love for her.

    Grace and Peace that only God provide.

    This is a Song I must Sing, Sylvia

  14. 64
    Joyce Watson says:

    Beautiful story! What a powerful testimony of God’s love! It is a reminder of how thankful we should really be as Christians.
    I’ve been there and yes, people overseas sometimes are happier__ They are eager to hear the gospel and know God. We can only pray for others and hope God will give us a closer walk with Him. Wish here in America more people wanted to know God like that little girl.
    Thanks for sharing your heart-felt story.

  15. 65
    elaine says:

    Dear Melissa,
    The story of Kiran has been burned on my heart since it was first posted in April 2009. I followed your blog every day and by the end of your trip decided it was time to dry the tears and do something. I sponsored two girls that day, Prema in India and Blandine in Burkina Faso (and added Bruna in Brazil last Spring). I traveled to Burkina Faso in January on a Compassion sponsor tour and it was indeed life changing. (Every American should have to spend 10 days in Africa.)

    Blandine’s family (10 including an aunt, uncle and cousin) live in a two room mud hut with no electricity or running water. As I visited the family, all of the neighbors were gathered around to check out the spectacle caused by our visit. Life is so hard there. Everything is hard. But joy abounds.

    In Blandine’s last letter she wrote “We are happy in my family. We play music, dance and laugh with joy.” So are we the most advanced nation? I have to say “no.”

    Thank you Melissa for introducing me to Compassion International and for using the story of Kiran to pierce my heart and lead me to the greatest blessing of my life.


  16. 66
    Kathy Inman (Eldorado, TX) says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. I visualized it as I read. God is good and soooo awesome.

  17. 67
    Ruth says:

    Oh Yes, it is GOOD to *hear* Melissa’s voice in Siestaville again. Bless you, Sister, for your poignant description of this life of yielded and receptive joy and how the Lord used this dear and distant child to begin to alter your own heart…and now ours. This was a fine meditation, indeed. Thank you.
    I have three remarkable *young* friends (your age, likely) who have moved to India after getting their MSW’s and working a few years here to work with girls rescued from the sex trade there AND to train social workers in trauma recovery for that population. It seems that Indian social workers are not really trained in PTSD and the kind of therapeutic work that such abused young people need to aid in their recovery from such unspeakable trauma–not to mention that these American women are trained in the power of the Gospel to deliver and heal!!
    And it was just the kind of encounter that you had with Kiran when these gals were late teens and on a mission trip to the DR that their hearts were irrevocably embossed with a joy that made no human sense…from a child in a hut who sang gleefully to the Lord and could not be convinced that he was *poor*.
    Blessed are the little children…

  18. 68
    Beth Herring says:

    oh, melissa, what an amazing post that just captured my heart! i have been right there where you were with Kiran when I was in Nicaragua both times on a mission trip. As i prepare to return in January, your post has caused me to focus on those God moments where i saw people just so in love with God and so happy in their ‘poverty of things’. i have realized that it is we who are living in poverty – spiritual poverty – due to our over abundance of stuff that has done more damage to our souls than good.

    i look forward to becoming more radical in my faith and living that out in the flesh as i seek to rid myself of things and fill myself solely with Him..

    love to you Melissa!

  19. 69
    singingkate says:

    What a beautiful post!! Also, I love the verse…this has kinda become my life verse. I pray one day the Joy of the Lord is as evident on my face as it is on yours and Kiran in the picture above.

  20. 70
    Melissa Sweet says:

    WARNING: I am a major weirdo when it comes to names, I LOVE to know name meanings! I was blessed by this story, and had never heard the name Kiran before, so I had to look it up. It means “Ray of Light”! How cool is that!!

  21. 71
    Kathy says:

    God Bless You, Precious One in Christ from an “old Girl” you are flowing the spirit of Christ to so many- Lots of love

  22. 72
    Cara says:

    wow. 🙂

    Melissa, that was brilliant and beautiful post in how God touched your heart. Thanks for sharing it so we’d be blessed too!

  23. 73
    jackie from MO says:

    thank you so much for sharing…

  24. 74
    Diane in Flagstaff says:

    Traveling in Belize last spring I saw great poverty, but everywhere Jesus was proclaimed–written on bus stops, cars, etc. I kept thinking of those words in Revelation that suggest we think we’re rich, but in reality we’re so poor. Your post drives that home to me again. Thanks Melissa. And btw, we sure do miss you on here. Please write more!

  25. 75
    Myra J Martin says:

    Certainly we must acknowledge the “THINGS” of this world do not matter- it is the people- The Spirit of Christ is Powerful in us- We must fall to our faces – and ask God to captivate us –and help our eyes see as He sees- and our views to be less of self- and to extend our hands – trusting Jesus to love all over the people who come into our pathways-
    Your story is brilliant- the brilliance of Christ has fine-tuned the life message and caused God to Be Glorified-
    In these days- SELF_LESS is Key- The Beauty of Christ is not fine linen and million dollar homes-or fancy gadgets the Beauty of Christ is His LOVE for ALL- His Forgiveness- His Salvation- – The Least are Certainly The Greatest – How I pray – How I surrender– Many blessings

  26. 76

    Thank you so much for such a wonderful reminder! My parents served in Kolkata for 10 years. The families living on the train tracks, the joy of their hearts, their absolute trust that God could do anything and gratefulness will never leave me.

  27. 77
    karen Lynne says:

    Beth, thank you so much for posting this at this time. I have been struggling over the last year with major problems with my house and a court case (my ex filed for my children) that have completely drained my finances and cause major strain on my budget. I did not think that I had lived very extravagantly but have learned to cut even more. I have come to realize that I truly do live a blessed lifestyle (even in this economy).
    Last week, when the basement flooded, requiring lots of clean up and some repair work, I had to write in my thankfulness journal that I was thankful ti gave a basement that floods. Last year, I would have fallen apart.
    However I am thankful, though, I was still feeling a bit sorry for myself – the clean up again took the last of my savings.
    May God bless you for reminding me to see Him in all things – and that with Him, I truly have enough.

  28. 78
    MB says:

    Such a touching and timely post for me! Wow.
    I don’t really know what more to say, but I love the joy of the Lord radiating from her! This is true beauty

  29. 79
    Vicki says:

    Thanks for sharing, Melissa. How easily we let the “stuff” of this life and society dim who we are in Christ.

  30. 80
    Karen says:


  31. 81
    Becky says:

    Melissa, thank you for sharing this post!! How convicting AND encouraging!! The smile on Kiran’s face just glows with the love for Jesus! How much we all have to learn to be content with where we are and what we have/don’t have. Thank you for sharing this precious girl and her story!!
    Becky, Fort Collins, CO

  32. 82
    Barbara Head says:

    I read this on two blogs today and I wasn’t going to comment, partly because I couldn’t see clearly through my tears, but mainly because I couldn’t think of anything to say that would be very profound. I decided to say just one thing: OUR AWESOME GOD IS ENOUGH!!!

  33. 83
    Shawna S. says:

    Only God can move us from survival mode to living full, abundant, passionate lives. May we all live fully in whatever location(physical and spiritual)God has us in at this present time. GOD is ENOUGH in every circumstance, every situation, every tear, every laugh, every breathe we take. God my heart is so full right now. Thank you for these words in Melissa’s blog. Praise you Father!

  34. 84
    Cindy says:

    My husband and nineteen year old daughter are leaving for India on Monday, it will be my daughter’s second mission trip there. India will change you and it changed her. She struggled for weeks after her first trip there, asking herself the same questions you were asking. She had a hard time with it and said that she would never return to India. It had been a scary place for her, she had never seen people struggling for things that we so carelessly take for granted. Then her heart began to change. She now feels that one day she will go into the mission field and India is where the Lord is leading her. Your post was so timely for me. I have struggled over the last week with anxieties over their trip. Thank you for reminding me of how important these trips are, for the lives of the ones they are going to minister to but also for the ones doing the ministering. May they all see and hear His Kingdom coming!

  35. 85
    Joni says:

    Beautiful word beautifully spoken.

  36. 86
    Desiree says:

    Thank you for sharing! I am doing the “Inheritance” study right now and have just begun reading “Radical” and your testimony encompasses both! Kiran is truly living as a heiress of God. I could see her singing praises to God her Father, “with the wind blowing through her hair” on her wild ride with the Lord. An absolutely stunning picture. Thank you for sharing today.

  37. 87
    Leslie says:

    I pray we are still living every day as if we only need “enough”. It is easy to hear these words, come home & not put them into practice. I love this verse & will pray over it often.

  38. 88
    Candice F. says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! This is really impactful. I’ve recently become friends with some international students where I live in Blacksburg, VA (home of Virginia Tech Hokies) from this same region. This opens my eyes up to their world more.


    • 88.1
      candifer says:

      as i was scrolling through the comments, i cannot tell you how excited i was to see someone with the same name as me, and even spelled the same way! haha! 🙂

  39. 89
    katiegfromtennessee says:


    The way you describe Kiran is how pure joy is described, even in the midst of apparent darkness. It makes me think…It’s like Paul saying that he had learned the secret to being content in any circumstance, whether he was in want or had plenty to spare…the joy of salvation outweighs it all. Jesus is her Savior and He is her Abba, Father. That is all she needs to know to have that kind of joy…Thankyou for sharing with us Melissa, blessings to you

  40. 90
    Debbie says:

    Thanks for sharing this song Melissa. I too love this song, and the verse you shared. Even at 58 years old, God has been convicting me of how self absorbed I have been. Some things are changing in my life…they have to.

  41. 91
    Barb Rowe says:

    Thank you Melissa,

    I for one needed this reminder and encouragement in a season of great loss mostly of things and I have struggled to find this joy and peace that Kiran has shown, through it all. We are so spoiled here in the US for the most part and I do believe these times are God trying to get us to pull our eyes away from things and get them on Him and the things that only matter to Him. The verses are perfect. Give me enough and help me to be content in what You give and allow. Minus a business, minus a dream, minus a home, show me the way through it all. I have kept my eyes on Him through out this journey but these reminders and encouragements are pure gold. And always perfectly timed. Thank you for your sensitivity to His leading and timing.

    Although, it has been excruciating at times I have to tell you all his tender mercies in it have been so dear. The main example is that I had a tropical plant collection that was mainly funded and purchased with a little inheritance from my parents. My mother, and both Grandmothers are/were avid lovers of gardening of all kinds. Mother and one Grandma are with Jesus, her mom, Grandma Long is still playing with her flowers where she can at 96. Anyway, the condo we found to rent is 3 miles from my new job, less than that to my husbands new job and 3 minutes to the local Botanical Garden’s that I gave my collection to!! Isn’t that just like God??!!

    His Mercies are new EVERY morning, Great is His faithfulness!!

    My husband and I are celebrating 22 yrs of marriage this weekend and it is a miracle after the past 3 years we are still hanging in there and beginning again together and saying “whatever Lord.”

    Blessings to all of you in Siesta land.

  42. 92
    Stephanie says:

    I was first moved to sponsor a child with Compassion when I heard one of the formerly sponsored girls speak at the Church at Brook Hills in 2007, I actually sponsored my first child while reading Melissa and Angie’s journey when they were in India. I am so thankful for the two of you documenting your journey. We now have a little boy in India, a little girl in Rwanda and a little girl in Brazil, and I am an Advocate for Compassion. Thank you for bringing these situations to life for me. It was the pure joy of the Lord in Kiran that has really opened my eyes. I go back and read your journey and Angie’s often and have used them to share with others what Compassion is about, and so others can see the real people who are helped by Compassion. Sponsoring thru Compassion and getting to know these precious children and their families thru our letters has been one of the greatest joys of our lives. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  43. 93
    Shari says:

    Thank you for putting these thoughts into words. Though I have not traveled to India, I have been in the slums of poverty in southern Brazil, and experienced a similar setting — being invited into the shack of a woman and her 3 beautiful children. I could sense that she was so happy to invite me into her home, and I complimented her on what a lovely home she had made for her children. That experience forever changed my perspective on poverty, on what we think people need – on what we ourselves really need, and how more than anything else, a relationship with Almighty God is enough for us to find our way in this life, no matter if we live in an exclusive neighborhood, or in a small shack with no running water. Thanks again for writing all of these thoughts out with such descriptive depth — you have captured the essence of what I have been thinking but couldn’t really put into words!! Beautiful, beautiful people all over this world inspire me — thanks for sharing!

  44. 94
    Aimee says:

    Thank you Melissa for having the courage to ask: “What does it really mean to be blessed?” Sadly so many are misled by this concept. God’s grace and love be with you.

  45. 95
    Deanna says:

    Thank you for sharing this post. It brought tears to my eyes, conviction to my heart and a challenge to my life.

  46. 96
    Yvonne says:

    Challenged and Blessed. Thank you Melissa!

  47. 97

    I have had Kiran’s photo in my Bible ever since the first time you posted about your visit to her. it is hard to put into words the way this little girl has blessed me with her beautiful little heart. I’m so glad that Shaun has immortalized her in song. she is a living walking sermon for us, straight from Jesus heart.

    so glad you shared this withbus.


  48. 98
    Jen H. says:

    Melissa, these are words I so needed to hear today. I’ve been having such a hard, hard time lately. How dare I ever believe that Jesus alone is not enough. Thank you for helping me to remember…

  49. 99
    EB says:

    Thank you for this great/post reminder. I’m in the middle of an immensely challenging time and this beautiful example of joyful embracing “enough” and trusting God in that is much needed: just over a month ago, my husband and I were thrilled to learn I was pregnant with our first child. A week and a half later, I had what we and our doctor believed to be a miscarriage. After going through that devastation, follow-up testing showed that it was not a miscarriage, it’s an ectopic pregnancy. We’ve been hoping and praying my body would resolve this on its own, and my medical team has given us time (while being closely monitored) to do so. The emotions of being pregnant with a child I know I will never give birth continuously breaks my heart, and it’s been very physically uncomfortable as well. My husband and I have both been asking God to take our baby and care for him or her until we reach heaven, but we are running out of time to avoid the medical intervention of taking a potent form of chemotherapy to stop the growth. My doctor has given us through the weekend to see if it’s resolved without the medication. If my hcg level continues to increase through the weekend, I’ll have to start medication on Tuesday. My husband and I recently moved to a new state, far away from family and without friends close to enough to share this information with yet. I would greatly appreciate any Siesta prayers for us, especially throughout this weekend: that God would gently take our baby to be with Him, and that my husband and I would continue to celebrate God’s goodness and grace through the struggle.

    • 99.1


      You can count on me to be praying for you and your husband.

      May the God of all comfort and the One who knows everything be with you!!


    • 99.2
      Jen H. says:

      Oh EB,

      Prayers are going up on behalf of you, your husband, and that sweet baby. I am so sorry you’re having to go through this!

      In Christ,

  50. 100
    Cindy says:

    This has really challenged me today. I have so much, my goodness. And does it ever blind me to the reality that He alone is sufficient!! Lord, forgive me for I am greedy and rarely satisfied. Help me to use these tremendous blessings for YOUR glory.

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